Meet UCL Dutch Writer in Residence 2022: Rashif El Kaoui from Flanders

8 March 2022

Meet UCL Dutch Writer in Residence 2022: Rashif El Kaoui from Flanders

Rashif El Kaoui, UCL Dutch Writer in Residence 2022

UCL Dutch is delighted to welcome 2022 writer in residence Rashif El Kaoui; writer, actor, and podcaster from Flanders (Belgium). For many years now, Dutch Studies has been hosting a literary translation project, in which the writer in residence collaborates with our final year students to produce a literary translation to be published on a Low Countries or international literary platform or publication.

This year’s finalists will translate extracts from El Kaoui’s latest stage play 'De Bastaard' into English, in collaboration with students at the University of Sheffield, as well as award-winning professional literary translator Jonathan Reeder, culminating in a translation conference in the presence of all participating students, the author and the translator.

For the play, De Bastaard, a title that is less straightforward to translate as it may seem, the character Rashif El Kaoui is struggling with his Flemish-Moroccan identity. Together with his friend, the Turkish-Dutch photographer Ahmet Polat, El Kaoui travels to a small village in the Atlas Mountains to meet the family of his father. This quest to find his roots forms the basis of the theatre production of which El Kaoui reluctantly admits: 'I feel guilty about making yet more theatre about a problematic father figure'. 

Yet, The Bastard is much more than an identity journey; it is a commentary on being caught in the middle: 'I am caught in the gaze of the other [...] For the Belgians I am too dark, for the Moroccans I am too white'. 

Dutch Studies Collaborative Translation Project with Rashif El Kaoui:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PNAZtgqixg


The Taalunie (Dutch Language Union) Writer in Residence UK of 2022 was performer and author Rashif El Kaoui. Students at the University of Sheffield and UCL translated extracts from El Kaoui's performance piece 'De bastaard' into English. This short impression was filmed during the closing Translation Symposium at the University of Sheffield in March 2022. With Jonathan Reeder (literary translator), Filip De Ceuster (Sheffield) and Christine Sas (UCL). Featuring final year UCL student Aza Mohammad (Language and Culture: Dutch Studies).


Our writer in residence programme is supported by the Nederlandse Taalunie.

You can read more about Rashif El Kaoui on the website of the Brussels KVS theatre.

Nederlandse Taalunie